Brenton Barker

CrossFit For Women: Everything You Need to Know

CrossFit conjures images of ripped male athletes at their peak. But CrossFit isn't just for men. That's right, increasing numbers of women are joining. Here's why you should, too.

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According to ZIPPIA statistics, only 26% of CrossFit participants are female, so it’s easy to see why the sport gets a bad rap, particularly from women. However, as the old saying goes, ‘you should never judge a book by its cover.’

The fact is the vast majority of CrossFit boxes (gyms) are full of fun-loving fitness-goers who are supportive and non-judgemental. They make everyone feel welcomed and supported regardless of age, sex or ethnicity.

Sure, there’s the odd guy dropping weights on the floor and grunting out loud, but that’s rare, and be honest, is there anything wrong with a guy being masculine? CrossFit is perfect for women because it builds strength, shreds fat, and boosts confidence and self-esteem.

So if you’ve been considering CrossFit but are still sitting on the fence, here are five reasons to help you get off it.

Why are women choosing CrossFit?

The fundamental principle of CrossFit is to make people fitter and healthier by combining everyday functional movements into one gut-busting workout. CrossFit classes combine weight lifting and gymnastic-style movements in a high-intensity training environment.

Female CrossFit participants make up only 26% Source: ZIPPIA

CrossFit is ideal for time-crunched women because it combines muscle building, fat burning and functional movement in under 60 minutes.

CrossFit benefits for women:

  • Meeting like-minded people

  • Boosting self-esteem and confidence

  • Building strength

  • Shredding body fat

  • A great way to release stress

  • High-intensity workouts in under an hour

  • A supportive and no-judgemental community

CrossFit is perceived as a male-dominated sport, but it’s not. Most CrossFit boxes are incredibly diverse in terms of race, sex and age, not to mention CrossFitters are well-known to be some of the most supportive and fun-loving exercise fanatics out there.

Five benefits of CrossFit for women


Have you ever seen a CrossFit Class? Even for the most elite athletes, it can be intimidating, so I can only imagine how beginners to Crosssfit must feel. The classes are high-intensity, there’s sweat all over the floor, and everyone is pumped to the max.

But don’t let these perceptions of CrossFit discourage you. Because the reality is that CrossFit classes offer a ton of benefits for women; Yes, even newcomers to the sport.

1A sense of community

Whether you’re a man or woman, the CrossFit community is the most fun-loving, supportive, and motivating group of gym-goers in the fitness world. Many women fall in love with CrossFit, and for some, their CrossFit boxes quickly become their second home.

You’ll develop relationships both in and out of the gym, with many of those friendships lasting a lifetime. You’ll fail together, succeed together, and motivate and support each other, especially when things get tough.

In short, your fellow CrossFitters become your second family. They’ll cheer you on when you’re struggling and celebrate when you succeed.

2Focus on the process

Most sports or fitness activities focus entirely on results, but CrossFit does the opposite. Of course, winning feels good, but what feels even better is knowing that you have the skillset and internal fortitude to achieve your goals.

In professional sports, this is called being ‘focus-driven rather than outcome-based’, and Crossfit does a wonderful job of keeping participants focused on improving their performance. Instead of focusing on the scales and mirror, coaches focus on your performance, helping to build confidence and boost self-esteem.

In short, you’re comparing yourself to you, not someone else.

3Gender equality

CrossFit is well-known as one of the only sports where men and women perform the same exercises. The beauty of CrossFit is that the exercises are scalable, meaning no matter what fitness level you’re at, everyone can perform the same movement.

Many women who are avid CrossFitters say they feel safe when attending classes and that the training environment is supportive and non-judgemental, allowing them to get the most out of the workout and themselves.

4Prevent chronic disease

It’s well-known that leading a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of developing serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Some of the shortest CrossFit WODs are only 20 minutes long, but even then, your heart is pumping the whole time. These classes are excellent for building muscle and burning fat, with many female CrossFitters seeing a significant improvement in health markers like blood pressure and insulin levels.

CrossFit sessions include:

  • Weightlifting

  • Running

  • Jumping

  • Skipping

  • Dance moves

One health condition that affects many women is osteoporosis. Compared to men, women’s bones are naturally more fragile, and after menopause, the bones can become even weaker. CrossFit can help strengthen the bones via strength and resistance training.

Unfortunately, women often avoid CrossFit and strength training because they fear injury; however, the opposite is true. Strength training will do just that; it strengthens the bones and joints and prevents stiffness and pain.

Furthermore, the CrossFit exercises are functional, meaning they mimic many of the same actions you perform at home, like squatting while gardening or picking something heavy off the floor.

5Time is precious

One benefit of CrossFit that is often overlooked is how incredibly time efficient it is. Most women are busy from morning to night, taking the kids to school, making lunches, and working full-time.

CrossFit workouts of the day or WODs are typically 60 minutes long, sometimes less, meaning women can get a challenging total body workout in an hour or less.

CrossFit takes advantage of high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, which focuses on maximizing your workout in the shortest amount of time. Take it from me; these workouts are challenging, fun, and great for those women who are time-crunched.

CrossFit for women: let’s sum up

As a professional coach, I’ve worked with the world’s best female tennis, golf, and cycling athletes for over 20 years. I’ve seen firsthand the power of sports literally change the lives of female athletes. I’ve seen them go from shy and lacking confidence to international tournament winners.

CrossFit has the power to change your life. Whether you are an elite female athlete or a busy mum who wants to make a change, CrossFit can make it happen.

There aren’t many sports where you can be a part of a community (both men and women) and challenge yourself both physically and mentally. CrossFit is great for all fitness levels, meaning it doesn’t matter if you are a total beginner; you can still gain all the benefits CrossFit offers.

So if you’ve been sitting on the fence, it’s time to get off it and get into CrossFit.

Want to learn more?

This video is great for women who aren’t yet sure if they want to commit to a CrossFit box. The workout is done at home and requires NO EQUIPMENT, and the best part? You can stop and start at your own place.

Healthypedia FAQ

Simply put, YES. CrossFit is a wonderful exercise for women and has benefits such as being part of a community, building physical and mental strength, building confidence, and losing body fat. Perhaps the best thing about CrossFit for women is the confidence gained from pushing themselves beyond what they thought possible.

No. CrossFit alone will not make you bulky. While CrossFit will help you build muscle, you'll only get ‘big’ by eating copious amounts of carbs and protein. Even then, bulking up takes time and doesn't happen overnight. Women should not be concerned about getting doing CrossFit.

Many women avoid performing CrossFit because they think lifting weights will make them big and bulky. That's not the case, though. While you will build muscle with CrossFit, you won't get bulky unless you follow a muscle-bulking diet. CrossFit will help women shred belly fat, build strength, improve flexibility, and tone up.

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